Civil engineers build the world around us. Their work involves public works construction and maintenance, and these public works include roads, dams, bridges, schools, hospitals, and more. Civil engineers are tasked with solving some of the most pressing public works challenges with their success coming from their ability to do this. If you are interested in becoming a civil engineer, you need the right qualifications, skills, and the ability to solve problems among other things.
Becoming a civil engineer begins with getting the right start. This involves choosing the right course at the right university. The reason you should be meticulous when selecting a university and course is that degree programs vary, and there are numerous institutions to pick from.
Typically, civil engineers start by enrolling in a bachelor’s civil engineering program. You should ensure the university you enroll in is ranked highly and has a reputable civil engineering department. Universities that fulfill these criteria provide students with the opportunities to receive employment offers or be hired right from university.
To become a professionally qualified civil engineer, you need to pass a professional exam and optionally join a professional body. Professional exams vary from one country to the next, but the general gist is that they are meant to help you demonstrate that you have the skills required to become a competent civil engineer.
Joining a professional body will give you networking opportunities which will become critical once you start looking for employment.
You will acquire most of the skills you need to become a civil engineer while completing your degree or diploma. However, there are other skills you need to become a successful civil engineer. These include:
- Excellent communication and listening skills
- Time management and ability to work under pressure
- IT skills and knowledge of CAD
- Creativity and design skills
- Reasoning and critical thinking
Of all these, IT and CAD skills are particularly important because many civil engineers now use computers for a variety of tasks. Even if you do not know CAD right from college, having the right IT skills will help you pick it up easier while on the job and when required.
Once you have done all the above, you are ready to start working as a civil engineer even if it will be as an intern when starting out. In most cases, you will not be given a whole project to complete but instead, work as part of a team until you can gain the skills to start handling parts of a project.
When seeking apprenticeship and employment opportunities, it is important to seek companies that work on different types of projects. The best civil engineering firms St. Louis work on different types of projects and this will allow you to not only learn, but also decide which facet of civil engineering interests you the most.
Becoming a civil engineer is a long and challenging path to take, but it is worth it. Civil engineering is a lucrative career with longevity and adequate security even when other sectors are laying people off.